Commercial activity back in Ilocos Norte

Patty Pasion
Commercial activity back in Ilocos Norte
(UPDATED) In Laoag City alone, Vice Mayor Michael Fariñas pegs agricultural destruction at P7 million

ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines (UPDATED) – A sunny morning on Friday, October 21, greeted the people of Ilocos Norte after experiencing days of gloomy weather as a powerful typhoon struck the northern province. 

Several business establishments in Laoag City opened as early as Thursday evening when Lawin was about to exit, resulting in the province being put under typhoon signal number 1. 

By Friday morning, economic activity was visible in the city and other nearby towns. Automatic telling machines (ATMs), supermarkets, eateries and restaurants became operational again.

Honeylin Fernandez, a food vendor stationed near the provincial capitol, said that they weren’t able to earn anything for two days because of the typhoon, but are expecting to recover their loss today. 

Sabi ng kuya ko maraming mamamasyal dito sa Laoag kahit kakatapos lang ng bagyo [kaya] normal lang na pagtitinda. Marami na rin nakakakilala sa amin dito,” she said. 

(My brother said a lot of people will visit Laoag even if the typhoon had just left so we’ll just sell as before. We also have a lot of patrons here.)

Tricycle driver Roberto Dumlao said he will be driving until early evening to make up for his loss of income yesterday. 

An empanada joint owner in Batac town, meanwhile, said that they are not expecting to get as many customers a day after the storm since people had stocked up on goods. 

“Usually, it takes two to 3 days after a disaster before customers start to come in here again,” he said in Filipino. 

Agricultural loss 

But while some businesses may find it easy to recover, it will be a bit harder for farmers. 

The strong winds of the typhoon collapsed several palay (rice) fields in the agricultural province. 

The government has yet to release the estimated cost of damage. But in Laoag City alone, Vice Mayor Michael Fariñas pegged agricultural destruction at P7 million. 

Farmer Lolita Gawiran said the strong winds damaged palay crops. She worries about major losses, especially since they only borrowed money for the farm inputs. 

“Mabuti kung may makuha na 30 na sako. Ang nakukuha ko noon halos 90 na sako,” she said. 

(It would be lucky if we’re able to harvest 30 sacks. Before I was able to harvest up to 90 sacks.) 

The provincial agriculture office of Ilocos Norte said they are still validating the damage claims before they could release the assistance needed. The local office said the Department of Agriculture will also be helping to provide farm inputs for the victims.

Provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay said that assistance such as rice, corn, vegetable seeds are ready for distribution. 

Lawin, initially categorized as a super typhoon, swept through the country’s northern provinces Wednesday evening up to Thursday morning when it exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility. 

The provincial government has yet to release its official report, including the cost of damages, on Friday, after all communication lines were cut due to power outage in the affected areas.  

A state of calamity will be declared in the province, depending on the results of the discussion of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial council) on Friday, October 21, Public Information Officer June Gudoy said. –


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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.